Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm a Street Riding Chihuahua With a Heart Full of Nougat

Procrastinated through much of the 40° rainy morning. Doing the ride the trainer (I haven't been on it in well over a year) or face the day dance. Three cups of coffee and a couple hours later I made my first attempt at a ride. Got less than ten minutes in when the first rain drops began to fall. My Burley has lost it's water-proofness so I turned back to grab real raingear. Then things went all white squall, snow blowing sideways, total craziness. I watched the swirling madness through the red door, contemplating whether I should really do this or bag it and go to brunch and spend the afternoon watching bad TV.

Alterations were made to my wardrobe selection and I set out again. This time making it fifteen minutes before realizing my core was not getting warm enough. Returning to the house would mean the end of the ride so I scanned the streets for recycling bins or free newspaper dispensers, looking for something to stuff my jersey with. A real estate guide did the trick.
From there on out the skies cleared, I headed up to Concord, Strawberry Hill loop with the addition of Annursnac Rd., a road I'd never noticed until they recently put in a stop sign. It's a super nice climb and a good addition to the loop.

Bad things come in threes. First an Audi buzzed me. I had just been pondering how mountain bikers react to equestrians in the woods. You stop, you walk your bike, you ask if it's OK to pass, is the horse going to freak? Your goal is to not have the horse throw the rider and break their neck. This is about regard for human life. I have no particular fondness for equestrians, but I respect most human and animal life, I don't want to get the rider or the horse hurt. However drivers have no qualms about coming within inches of a cyclist at 50mph.
A little while later, a guy driving a life size Matchbox truck which just screamed "I have little or no penis" slowed down enough to say, apropos of nothing "Get off the road asshole". I can't actually repeat what my reply was. I have reactionary tourette's syndrome, I go way below the belt right off the bat. It had something to do with stating that he had been determined to be mentally disabled before the age of eighteen, and that his height to weight ratio was out of balance. The third incident involved getting cut off at the intersection of Pleasant St. and Mass Ave. All I could muster by then was "You don't do that!". Pretty weak, I was completely knackered by that point.

The goodness comes in spades though. Taking a left turn, using the car in front of you to block traffic, shadowing it off to the right, then seamlessly falling in behind it's draft as it straightens out and riding behind for a few hundred yards. Hitting 35mph on the downhill into Carlisle with a 66in. gear, the RPMs off the charts. The finest moment of the day came after I got caught in another Noreaster type deal outside of Lexington center, about a half hour from home. Thoughts went to holing up in Pete's coffee and calling in an evac from Miriam. Vision was impaired, my window to the world the few millimeters between my the top of my glasses (which I'd pushed down my nose as they had become useless) and the brim of my cycling cap. Just I was about to throw in the towel The Stooges "Search and Destroy" came on the ipod, I went after the snow covered road like Steve Zissou went after the pirates in The Life Aquatic. My cadence and velocity rising, singing "I'm a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm" through my gritted teeth. Then as I spun softly down the clean, white bike path with it's fresh blanket of snow Shearwater's "The Makeover" came on, keeping it nice and mellow for the spin home.

This ride was fueled by chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels.


josh said...

you should race cx like you commute...screaming obscenities at all those who are in your way.

it'd be funny...just a thought.

for the record, in my head, at the start of cx races, I am often thinking of screaming out things not to dissimilar from what you do daily, however something keeps them from getting out of my mouth. probably the fact I am sucking air on the start line half the time.

Tom said...

Good stuff man... I was lucky to get out Saturday and watched the crazy Sunday weather from home. As for your altercations - I was thinking the other day that cycling (on the road at least) is the only sport I can think of that people go outta their way to start shit with you. Bike commuting is one thing and it's expected to happen, but when you're out there trying to have a good time it's another thing entirely. It doesn't bother me enough to "stay off the roads asshole" but annoying none the less.

Tom said...

P.S. LOVE those peanut butter filled pretzel things.

Adrian said...

I'm pretty sure you mean TOURETTES, although having some sort of gun turret would be much more effective. See what you get for respecting human life?

Thom P. said...

You are correct sir. "Turrets Syndrome" might involve small towers projecting from you body. That could be uncomfortable.